Listening

Yesterday I walked mindlessly to my studio, a million thoughts racing through my mind.  As I got close to the door, fumbling for my keys, I heard some rustling around in the roots of the Banyan tree.  Before I could even process the sounds, an adult armadillo ran off under a bulilding, nowhere to be found.  I had startled the creature and missed the opportunity to watch it meander… digging for grubs and ants.  I tried to find it, camera now ready, but it eluded my sight. 

Now I try to walk more purposefully, pausing, listening, looking around, allowing my steps to meander from the urgency of the moment. I have learned to differentiate the sounds: a quick brush of leaves is usually a small lizard jumping from a branch;  quick, short movements- a bird hopping from one branch to another; slow, rustling of leaves on the ground- a scavenger such as an armadillo.  This morning I heard some movement in a cluster of sea grape trees… waiting quietly, I realized it was a cardinal.  As I followed it, there were several…. a whole family of cardinals.  Later in the morning, more movement in the same location.  I stopped and waited and out emerged a baby armadillo.  It would submerge itself under a pile of leaves, completely hidden, scrounging for food.  As I stood with my camera lens aimed and ready, my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of movement in the grass.  Shifting my gaze from the rustling leaves, a snake had caught a lizard for lunch and was seeking a shady spot to dine on its feast, almost its entire body length, and twice its width.  I promptly pulled out the books, identifying it as a juvenile black racer… Wheeew!  Glad it was nothing to be concerned about.

Can I take this thought with me?  Can I meander away from my mental “to do” list and listen?  Listen when another has something to say…. Listen to my body when it needs rest or exercise…. Listen to the seasons…when its time to celebrate, discuss, cry or be angry? These opportunities will emerge when listening or run off and hide if I can’t meander from the moment’s agenda.